Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 31st Mar 2014 21:35 UTC

AnandTech on Apple's A7 processor:

I suspect Apple has more tricks up its sleeve than that however. Swift and Cyclone were two tocks in a row by Intel's definition, a third in 3 years would be unusual but not impossible (Intel sort of committed to doing the same with Saltwell/Silvermont/Airmont in 2012 - 2014).

Looking at Cyclone makes one thing very clear: the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn't aim high enough. I wonder what happens next round.

This is one area where Apple really took everyone by surprise recently. When people talk about Apple losing its taste for disruption, they usually disregard the things they do not understand - such as hardcore processor design.

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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Tue 1st Apr 2014 08:24 UTC
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I wonder if the move to 64-bit was more about the wider design than other design considerations. ARMv7 already had 16 general purpose registers. While ARMv8 has double that amount, 16 is already a plenty, and all else being equal, the extra 15 registers would have a minimal impact on performance (Unlike the move from i686 to AMD64, which quadrupled the GPR count from 4 to 16. i686 was horribly starved for registers). The iPhone 5s doesn't add any memory, and 32-bit integer math is rarely a limitation for the type of stuff run on a phone.

However, all else is not equal: The A7 can issue about twice as many instructions as the A6 - the extra registers would be a boon for enabling the extra ILP, and that seems to be where all the A7's performance enhancements come from.

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